Carlos Sainz’s bad luck this season continued as his Ferrari caught fire while he was in the car at the Austrian GP on Sunday. The Spaniard was ruled out of the race, which was won by his teammate Charles Leclerc. 

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Sainz, who was coming off his maiden F1 win from the British GP last week, started third in Styria. He was contesting for a consecutive podium, readying himself for an overtake on the 58th lap when the Ferrari’s engine shut down. He car suddenly slowed on the exit of turn three with smoke billowing from the rear. 

The Ferrari driver vented his frustration on team radio: “Engine, engine, no, no, no, no.”

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The Ferrari then ran into the gravel, came to rest on the outside and suddenly burst into flames. Fire could be seen ripping across the bodywork while Carlos Sainz was still in the car. He kept waving as crews rescued him. 

Sainz came out unhurt. He was visibly dejected. The Spanish racer was chasing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on fresh tyres. A second place finish looked a certainty.

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Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc revived his Formula 1 title challenge by holding on to win the Austrian Grand Prix for a third victory of the season. The Monaco driver was clearly stressed in the closing laps as his throttle was not working properly, making it more difficult to control his speed into turns.

“Yes. Come on!” Leclerc screamed on team radio after crossing the line. “I was scared. I was really scared. Yessss!”

He held on to beat second-place Verstappen by 1.5 seconds.

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“I definitely needed that win, the last five races have been incredibly difficult,” Leclerc said. “At the end it was really difficult, I had this problem with the throttle.”

Verstappen picked up a bonus point for fastest lap to go with the eight points he took by winning Saturday’s sprint race. Lewis Hamilton finished third for Mercedes and encouragingly gained a third straight podium place. His teammate George Russell placed fourth.